September 2013: Master BOE Spreadsheets Reduce Errors and Review/ Rework Cycle Time
September 30, 2013
April's newsletter, Streamlining BOE Development With Proposal Navigator®, presented a top-down approach--validated by a real engagement--to shortening a typical 6-8 week proposal kickoff to ready-to-price timeline to 5 weeks. This article presents a further improvement to that method by addressing how to reduce or eliminate errors in the historical data capture and following mathematical calculations. This high level of "base" data and subsequent calculation assurance substantially decreases the needed review/ correction/ rework time.
How does it work ? In short, the method captures "base" historical actuals (by proposed WBS) and many/ most/ all calculations in a master spreadsheet whose result tables are later copied/ pasted into the final word-processed BOE product. This approach removes the need to individually build the Labor Grade tables within the BOE text and also removes the requirement to perform many side calculations which are typically fraught with human error. It works most efficiently when there are a few "global" time scaling or technical complexity factors which operate throughout many or all of the WBS elements, which are simultaneously applied to all WBS elements in the spreadsheet. Examples include instances where historical actuals are based on a 1 year period of performance (PoP) but the proposed PoP is e.g. 6 months, and historical actuals captured hours for three widgets and the proposal is for two widgets. Specifically, this method significantly reduces or eliminates:
errors in the original capture/ calculation of historical actuals "base" because the BOE authors are not doing that by themselves piecemeal;
errors in calculations of results of applied technical complexity / time scaling factors because the spreadsheet holds the math calculations;
inconsistency in application of the same factors across BOEs, because the global factors are applied the same way across the WBS elements; and
disconnects between BOE hours and the pricing system because the same master spreadsheet is used to populate the pricing system, thereby ensuring an exact match to the BOEs.
A further benefit of this approach is the ability to quickly respond to any last minute strategic change such as in price-to-win, because the vast majority--if not all--of the affected calculations are contained in our master spreadsheet--easily updated by a small turn of our global factor "dial."